Refine Ideas

The first stage in the project lifecycle is the refinement of ideas, as a means of defining a project and articulating it clearly in a proposal.

Here are some questions to think about as you start to refine your ideas:

  1. What do I want to be known for as a researcher / creative practitioner?
  2. What questions do I want to answer?
  3. Why are these questions significant? Innovative? Fundable?
  4. What further skills / knowledge do I need to acquire? Would building a team be productive?
  5. How much will it cost? Develop a budget?
  6. Who can give me advice and critical feedback?

Some key attributes to grow in during the refinement process:

  1. Knowledge: learn everything you can about your field, and identify a significant gap or need
  2. Creativity: develop a novel idea to address this need
  3. Openness: obtain feedback from other subject matter experts
  4. Adaptability: revise/refine the problem and/or solution to maximize impact on the discipline/field

And remember:

  1. A sponsor will only fund ideas that fulfill its mission.
  2. Your original concept may need to be modified to meet the criteria of each grant program.
  3. Your primary research trajectory could be broken down into a series of smaller sub-projects that could be funded by a variety of different sponsors.

The Office of the Vice President for Research (OVPR) website contains additional information.

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